Smart Talk November 3rd – 16th, 2018

Check out this week’s Smart Talk where we talk about street safety after a crash in Elmont, applaud Farmingdale’s recent award, discuss the recent Amazon HQ news, and more…

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November 3rd – 16th, 2018


REGIONAL UPDATES

Certilman, Balin, Adler & Hyman

Certilman Balin Adler & Hyman, LLP strives to provide clients with excellent, responsive legal counsel. They deliver that service in a manner free of excessive legal actions and its related expense. The law firm works hard to fully protect their clients’ interests without incurring unwarranted costs. To accomplish this goal, their attorneys take a disciplined approach to each matter, carefully measuring client costs against associated risks and rewards.

“In the final analysis, the cost of drawing [Amazon] here was very substantial. But the cost of not drawing them here was bigger. NY has to start being competitive in terms of drawing these kinds of jobs and companies. I have come to believe that now, more important than housing, job creation is the #1 need to create sustainable growth and communities. Bring the jobs and the housing and young professionals etc. will follow.” – Westbury Mayor Peter Cavallaro on Amazon selecting Long Island City for an HQ

“Clearly, speeding is a deadly problem at this intersection, and traffic-calming measures are needed as soon as possible. An immediate traffic study is warranted, and I have already spoken to county officials, who are optimistic that one can begin promptly.” – NYS Senator Kaminsky, speaking on the recent crash in Elmont

 

“For over 60 years we have been a big supporter of local business, especially small business.  The last thing anyone wants are vacant locations, and we are happy to say that we are part of the tide changing for the better, especially right here in East Meadow.” – Frank Camarano, East Meadow Chamber President, speaking on the opening of Garden Social

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Elmont Residents call for Road Safety after Crash

A recent accident that injured four teenage bystanders on an Elmont role has residents talking about street safety in the small hamlet.

This past Halloween saw the intersection of Dutch Broadway and Elmont Road play host to a four-car accident where one of the vehicles went off the road and struck four teenagers just as they were leaving school.  While the investigation into why is still ongoing, residents have stated that they are not interested in the why of this particular incident as they are in why these accidents keep happening on the same stretch of road.  Police have noted that the stretch has a higher-than-usual volume of injuries and accidents.

The issue has been an ongoing source of frustration for local officials and residents since at least 2015 when Nassau Legislator Carrie Solages took high-ranking officials on a tour of the local road.  Residents claim that a big problem is motorists increasing to a high speed once the road goes from one lane to two.  Some claim to have seen cars traveling upwards of 60 mph on the small road after that.

“Clearly, speeding is a deadly problem at this intersection, and traffic-calming measures are needed as soon as possible,” said NYS Senator Kaminsky, who is working with the local civic on this issue.  “An immediate traffic study is warranted, and I have already spoken to county officials, who are optimistic that one can begin promptly.”

The new Curran administration is looking to move forward on a traffic study for the area and has sent out RFP’s for additional traffic controls, but in the meantime local activists are talking about other possible solutions.  There is a petition to increase the rate of work in the area.  This sense of urgency comes from concern that the new Belmont arena will bring increased traffic to the area.  Some have also called for the road to be designated a school zone with a 20 mph speed limit due to its proximity to Elmont Memorial High School.

You can read more here.

Farmingdale Receives Award for Downtown Revitalization

Farmingdale Village received the 2018 Award of Excellence from the National Association for County Community and Economic Development this past week in recognition of their downtown revitalization efforts.

Farmingdale has been experiencing revitalization thanks to efforts by local officials to bring in new residents and spur new business to create a unified aesthetic enjoyable to both residents and visitors.  The downtown has always had its fair share of destinations, but is beginning to create a sense of place that is attracting a newer and younger set to not just visit but also live in the downtown.

The Community Development Block Grant program was  instrumental  in the very beginning of the renaissance of the Village of Farmingdale and is the bedrock that has spurred millions of dollars in private investment in the downtown business district.  It showed that the village was reemerging through new downtown sidewalks and new signage, lighting and awnings on numerous businesses.

That investment was coupled with over 150 million dollars in private sector investment for new apartment housing that includes a 10% workforce housing component. The leverage of the CDBG investment has paid great dividends and has charted a very positive course for the Village. Business district vacancies are at an all-time low and foot traffic is at an all-time high.

Partnering in this endeavor, advising the Village and assisting in hosting community planning charrettes was Vision Long Island resulting in a new Downtown Mixed Use zoning district which is where the bulk of the investment has taken place.  Vision Long Island continues their role as consultants to the village in the CDBG program.

Hicksville Community Council Honors Downtown Revitalization Committee

Vision Board and staff were out at the Hicksville Community Council annual dinner this past week honoring the Hicksville Downtown Revitalization Committee.

Vision was happy to see the bulk of the Committee make it to the dinner as well as the support of Oyster Bay Supervisor Joseph Saladino and Councilman Tom Hand, along with Nassau County Legislators Rose Walker and Laura Schaefer.  Vision, as a member of the Committee, was part of those honored with the 2018 Hicksville Community Council Community Service Award.

While there is still a lot of work ahead, the dedication of the revitalization committee laid the ground work for the current redevelopment efforts in Hicksville. Vision is proud to work with all of them.

Special thanks to Community Council President Harry Single along with their leaders Tom Bruno, Stan Kobin and Joel Berse.

PSEG Long Island Presents New East Meadow Eatery with $25,000 Grant

Garden Social Beer Garden and Kitchen, a new eatery in East Meadow, celebrated its official grand opening recently, thanks in part to funding from PSEG Long Island’s Main Street Revitalization program.

“PSEG Long Island cares about the communities we serve,” said John Keating, manager of economic development for PSEG Long Island. “One of Garden Social’s owners is a lifelong resident of East Meadow. He chose to support his hometown by opening this beautiful restaurant, and that’s what our Main Street Revitalization and Vacant Space Revival Programs are all about—supporting the small business owners who are supporting their neighborhoods. This grant provides a head start toward a successful future.” 

Representatives from PSEG Long Island, members of the East Meadow Chamber of Commerce and government officials gathered at Garden Social this week to congratulate them on the grand opening. This came a year after Garden Social took over a storefront in The East Meadow Plaza that had been vacant for more than a year. After major renovations that included Ohio barn wood from the late 1800’s, reclaimed brick and warehouse shelving from New York City, and an elaborate chandelier, the new social hotspot opened its doors this week. 

“We appreciate that PSEG Long Island cares about our communities and gave us funds to revitalize a vacant storefront in the East Meadow community,” said Dave Boller, managing partner and founder, Garden Social. “The $25,000 grant from PSEG Long Island has helped us create a neighborhood gathering spot and realize a dream we have had since college. Putting in energy efficient lighting and air conditioning earned us additional savings on our electric bills, and also helps us help the environment.” 

PSEG Long Island’s Main Street Revitalization Program is designed to support the economic vitality of a business district and to optimize the use of existing electric infrastructure. This program offers grants for projects that are expected to improve the economic stability and growth of a local business district. Eligible projects include: interior renovations; facade improvements; streetscape improvements; and other investments that would enhance the economic viability/vibrancy of the business district.

“The East Meadow Chamber of Commerce is proud to have been a part in securing the PSEG Long Island grant for our new member Garden Social.  For over 60 years we have been a big support of local business, especially small business.  The last thing anyone wants are vacant locations, and we are happy to say that we are part of the tide changing for the better, especially right here in East Meadow,” said Frank Camarano, East Meadow Chamber President.

In addition, Garden Social qualified for PSEG Long Island’s Vacant Space Revival Program, which offers special bill discounts to businesses that occupy a space in a commercial district that has been vacant for one year or more. Vacant business space detracts from the economic strength of a business district and results in underutilization of existing electric infrastructure. 

By installing energy efficient heating and cooling systems, energy efficient lighting fixtures and by using LED bulbs, Garden Social’s owners also took advantage of more than $1,500 in PSEG Long Island energy efficiency rebates that is expected to reduce their annual electric usage by more than 4,000 kilowatt hours, helping them lower their bill by an estimated $750 per year. 

For more information about the PSEG Long Island downtown revitalization programs, visit https://www.psegliny.com/inthecommunity/revitalization

For more on our energy efficiency programs: https://www.psegliny.com/saveenergyandmoney

To learn more about Garden Social, visit http://gardensocialli.com/ or https://www.facebook.com/GardenSocial/videos/255132445332732/

You can read more here.

Riverhead Officials Mull Code Changes On Main Street Building Heights

Riverhead officials have begun the process of discussing changes in height limitations for buildings on properties in Riverhead’s DC-1 downtown zoning district. This area covers the south side of East Main Street from Griffing Avenue to just past Ostrander Avenue.

Presently, current zoning allows a maximum height of 60 feet and five stories. It also allows a zero lot line, meaning buildings can be built to the property line, and 100 percent impervious lot coverage. However, during the Town Board’s November 8th work session, an intra-agency draft of proposed amendments to Part 2, Article 29 of Chapter 301 was discussed.

The proposed code amendments would set the maximum building height at two stories, or 24 feet, with commercial uses required on the first floor.  Structures could rise to three stories (36 feet) through transfer of development rights, or to a maximum of four stories (48 feet), with the purchase of development rights. Transfer of development rights allows building density to be transferred off of farmland that the town seeks to preserve.

Any third-floor development would be require a 15-foot setback from any front yard, with fourth-floor developments needing 30 feet from any front and rear yard. Maximum impervious surface would be reduced from 100 percent to 80 percent to allow for public space, with the floor area ratio to be reduced proportionately.

Discussion at the work session included more green space and more public space, a possible contiguous boardwalk behind all the stores, preservation of streetscape while maximizing the riverfront location, and the type of housing to be developed in the downtown, by the train station or near the courts.

According to Councilwoman Kent, all suggestions will continue to be brought back to the revitalization committee for feedback as the amendments continue to be discussed.

You can read more here.

Oyster Bay Receives $500K Grant for Business District

The Town of Oyster Bay has received a $500,000 grant from New York State to improve the downtown business district.

Dubbed the Oyster Bay Downtown Improvement Project, the goal will be to extend the streetscape and crosswalks along Audrey Ave to connect Oyster Bay’s main street with Fireman’s Field, Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park, and the Western Waterfront.  This will include new decorative paver crosswalks to both increase safety for pedestrians and improve the look of the current crosswalks.

“This infrastructure at Firemen’s Field and Theodore Roosevelt Park will develop a common-theme connection between those areas and Audrey Avenue,” said Oyster Bay Civic Association president Rich LaMarca.  He viewed the project as “a start to public investment in the Town of Oyster Bay. We’ve already seen new investment in businesses, and several new restaurants, and I expect we’ll see more investment on the part of all levels of government.”

The ultimate goal of the project is to attract foot traffic to the business district through the improvement of this main walking route.  The connection should help to increase business for local business while also creating an aesthetically pleasing common area for residents.

Construction is expected to begin in the Spring of 2020.

You can read more here.

Qwik Ride Service Expands into Port Jefferson

In yet another expansion, local shuttle service Qwik Ride will begin to operate in Port Jefferson’s business district in an effort to relieve parking concerns.

The shuttle service will officially partner with the local BID, and will offer free rides in its 100% electric fleet to both employees and shoppers who don’t want to circle for a spot in the busy downtown.  Those who wish to use the ride can do so by either summoning it through the app if they live in 11777 area or parking at the CVS on Main Street and requesting a ride.  The service will operate Thursdays to Fridays from 5 pm to midnight, and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to midnight as well as special events.

“We have tried a lot of different things,” said Mayor Margot Garant. “I think it’s fun, it’s mobile, it’s free — it solves all of our issues. It can help an employee park out of the village and open up a spot. It can bring a resident downtown and keep that spot open for somebody else. And I think they’re innovative and they’re flexible, and I think when you have a dynamic problem you need a dynamic solution.”

This marks the fourth village that Qwik Ride will operate in, already having agreements in place with Patchogue, Huntington, and Northport.

You can read more here.

Amazon Places One of Two East Coast Headquarters in Queens

Amazon has announced that it will place one if two East Coast Headquarters in nearby Long Island City, bringing 25,000 new jobs o the region, but with numerous other impacts as well.

This will mean a number of things for the region.  Clearly there are many benefits to having this type of economic expansion, but it will still be very important to have Queens residents, business owners, and NYC plan the details of the expansion effort.  Public benefits from the trillion dollar company will need to exceed the economic development package offered to them by NYS and NYC, and mitigation of their transportation impact should be tackled through the SEQRA process as the plan moves from announcement to reality.

As for the financial impacts to Long Island, an important is that the economic growth that is slowly advancing in our many downtowns should continue.  This is especially important given the effort is driven largely by communities, municipalities and our local business base. It is critical that our small business community continue to grow and be in a position to benefit on a parallel path as large tech companies increasingly occupy large market share of our economy.

“There would be a symbiotic relationship between what is happening with Amazon’s growth and Long Island’s economy.  There would be benefits, there would be jobs in the region,” said Vision Long Island Director Eric Alexander.  “We need to make sure that economic development dollars grow our small business space and not just simply subsidize large corporations coming out here.”

Verizon Fios 1 News visited us in Hicksville for feedback on the Amazon announcement and you can check out the story here.

Nassau HUB Redevelopment Underway

Although the Nassau HUB redevelopment project enjoys an eagerness on the part of the developers to move forward after two decades of project delays, the to-do-list prior to shovel meeting ground has grown.

Last month, project developers Brett Yormark, chief executive of Brooklyn-based BSE Global, and Scott Rechler, chairman and CEO of Uniondale-based RXR Realty, presented a preliminary vision of the $1.5 billion plan to remake the Uniondale site, along with a time frame to secure legislative approval, state funding and community backing for development of the Hub. The development team claimed it could begin construction within a year. This revelation was met with pushback from Hempstead town officials.

Hempstead Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney has stated, “All of this speculation that this is a done deal is entirely premature,” noting any plan for the Coliseum property must come back to the town for an extensive review. Senior Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby, whose district includes Uniondale and surrounding communities, has called for approvals to be done properly with full review by experts.

Town officials also point out that the town’s current zoning, enacted in 2011, contains specific restrictions that might run counter to portions of BSE’s and RXR’s proposal, including variances, new zoning, or approval of a master plan that incorporates code change. These will encompass a new state-mandated environmental review, a litany of town department reviews and public hearings.

Even before the development can move forward, the Nassau Legislature must approve amendments to the existing lease agreement to clear the way for BSE to partner with RXR on the redevelopment. As such, a public hearing on the matter is scheduled for Tuesday, November 27th in Mineola.

Regarding the project, Eric Alexander, director of Vision Long Island, notes, “It’s heartening to see progress at the Nassau Hub,” but he also agrees there is the need foradapting the town’s zoning for the site.

“Changes need to be made to the Town of Hempstead’s code for the area and a process has to move forward in order to create a true destination for the site,” Alexander states.  “Vision is very glad to see a proposal move forward.”

You can read more here.

LIREG Hosts Breakfast with Update on Heartland Town Square

Vision Board and staff attended the recent LI Real Estate Group’s breakfast to hear an update from David Wolkoff, from Heartland Town Square, on the planned smart growth community as well as their development in NYC.

Mr. Wolkoff covered the benefits of the mixed use development at Heartland, which has had its first phase approved, and noted that most projects around the country that are financed and destinations.  The conversation also included opposition to the project, including the myth that a majority of it is coming from within the community itself.

The majority of Brentwood residents who have attended multiple public meetings on the project have been in support. However, regional opposition to the project from communities outside of Brentwood continues, particularly on the County level.  Mr. Wolkoff stated that nimbyism is a vocal minority and not a majority and that they are not stopping in getting the project built.

Other questions included the viability of such a large scale project.  Mr. Wolkoff identified the continued need for rental apartments in a smart growth form on Long Island to compete economically with other regions.  He also covered progress on their million square foot project plus project in NYC. That update was powerful to hear given the news reports of Amazon siting a facility in nearby Long Island City.

Nassau County Executive Curran Signs Open-Space Access Bill

Nassau has officially passed legislation that will allow the public greater access to numerous open-space sites across the county.

The new legislation, signed just this past Tuesday, was originally filed to address concerns about the limited nature of the county’s public lands as well as political ties to previous owners.  There was also mismanagement of the lands with poor signage and little to no promotion.

The original version of the bill would have allowed for all of the land to be open to public immediately, but was eventually amended to allow for an evaluation period to address safety and financial concerns before opening a parcel of land.  Nassau now has 60 days to evaluate and make the case for keeping a parcel of land shuttered.  The evaluation will involve 6,000 acres of park land.

“Some areas will remain protected for environmental and public safety considerations, including critical fresh and tidal wetlands that contain ecologically sensitive vegetation,” said County Executive Curran.

“This bill provides a reasonable method for determining what space should be available for the public,” said Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello.  “This is a reasonable process. We don’t want damage to sensitive properties. We don’t want to jeopardize public safety.”

You can read more here.

LIBN Hosts Hall of Fame Awards

Vision Board and staff were out at the LI Business News Hall of Fame Awards this week, inducting John Cameron, Frederick Brewington Kevin O’ Connor and many others.

This was the 4th Annual Hall of Fame awards event, which was created to recognize individuals whose influence has helped to further prosperity and progress in the region.  Honorees are selected via committee among those men and women who best exemplify those values in our area.

Vision received the designation last year and is honored to be among many accomplished Long Island leaders. Congratulations to the LI Business News team for putting together this premier event and to Hofstra University for being a lead sponsor and housing the Hall of Fame.

LIBOR Political Action Committee Seeks Liaison

The Long Island Board of REALTORS® (LIBOR) is looking for an experienced REALTORS® Political Action Committee (RPAC) Liaison person to augment their successful division.

 LIBOR is requesting that potential candidates have a 1 -3 years of relevant experience. Salary is $50K – $55K commensurate with experience plus benefits.

Candidates will need to liaise with counterparts at NAR & NYSAR, work with RPAC and Legislative Committees to achieve annual RPAC goals; Develop and implement RPAC fundraising opportunities; Work with LIBOR Chapter and Division Leadership to facilitate fundraising and participation on a local level; Develop RPAC promotional materials and generate articles; Schedule, plan and execute presentations at chapter and division meetings; Prepare Monthly RPAC reports; Work with GA Coordinator on RPAC of NY’s recognition program; Work with Business Development Manager to create a successful LIBOR RPAC program for Affiliate Members.

If you know of or are an interested applicant – please have them respond to me via email with their letter of interest and resume to rkaplan@lirealtor.com. Please also have them cc the info to adellItalia@mlsli.com

Community Conversation on Housing in Huntington on November 17th

A Community Conversation on Housing for All in Huntington Township will take place on Saturday, November 17th, from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm.  The conversation will take place at Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington Village, located at 423 Park Ave.

The event will feature opening remarks from Supervisor Chad Lupinacci and several breakout sessions including Accessory Apartments: an Improved Approach, Dollars & Sense: How to Afford your Home, Housing Options for Inter-grational Communities: Village Apartments and Community Development, Impacts of Housing Choices: How Housing and Apartment Developments Impact Municipalities.

Vision Long Island board member Trudy Fitsimmons as well as Director Eric Alexander and Placemaking Director Elissa Kyle will be participating in the event as well.

To attend the event you will need to register here.

The First Annual HurriCON is on November 17th

In an effort to raise funds for damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, a benefit comic con will be held on November 17th from 10 am to 6 pm.  Comics, artists, food, toys, artwork, collectibles, and more will be available at the event.

Proceeds from HurriCON will go towards funds to repairs of damage that Bethany Church sustained during Hurricane Sandy and to finishing the gym floor.  Admission will require a $5 donations while children under 12 who are in costume get in for free.

You can keep up to date at the event’s Facebook page here and check out the press release here.

Sustainable Living Film Series Presents Albatross on November 19th

The Sustainable Living Film Series will be showing a free screening of the film Albatross.  The film documents how plastic pollution has wreaked havoc on a community of 50 albatross in the North Pacific Ocean and draws many parallels to how such pollution can effect Long Island waterways. 

The screening will take place on Monday, November 19th at the Madison Theatre located at Molloy College in Rockville Centre.  Doors open at 6:30 pm with the film beginning at 7:00.  Registration is free for this event and you can register by texting MASC ALBA to 56512. 

For more information about the screening, please call 516-323-4513.  You can view the trailer here.

Small Business Saturday is November 24th

The Saturday after Thanksgiving, November 24th, will mark American Express’ annual Shop Small event, where you are encouraged to go into your local downtown and support Mom and Pop stores for the holidays.  While it’s great to see annual events like this, remember that you can shop small all year long and help support your local communities!

You can read all about the Shop Small initiative as well as what you can do to participate here.

Smart Talk

Editor:
Eric Alexander, Director

Contributors:
Christopher Kyle, Communications Director; Tawaun Weber, Assistant Director; 
Elissa Kyle, Planning Director; Jon Siebert, Program Coordinator

We strive to provide continued quality publications like this every week. If you have any news or events that you would like to add to our newsletter, submit them to info@visionlongisland.org for consideration.

If you are interested in becoming a newsletter or news blast sponsor, please call the office at 631-261-0242 for rates and opportunities.

Vision Long Island
24 Woodbine Ave., Suite Two 
Northport, NY 11768 
Phone: 631-261-0242. Fax: 631-754-4452.
Email: info@visionlongisland.org

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